University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 041/2023, 06.04.2023
Most important prize in STEM didactics goes to Germany for the first time in over 90 years
Prof. Dr. Franz X. Bogner from the University of Bayreuth is the first German biology didactician to receive the highest US STEM research award, the NARST Distinguished Contributions through Research Award.
NARST's STEM Research Prize has been awarded since 1928 and this year, for the first time, goes to a German-speaking biology educator. As the highest US research award in global STEM education research, it recognises scientists who have "made significant contributions to science education for at least two decades after receiving their doctorate": according to the award description, this includes international leadership in STEM research, above-average third-party funding and internationally widely cited publications.
"I am very pleased about Professor Bogner's selection as the first German-speaking laureate," says Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible, President of the University of Bayreuth. "His achievements in the field of STEM didactics over the past 30 years are exceptional. This award underlines that once again and at the same time makes clear how outstanding teacher training is at the University of Bayreuth."
The NARST justifies its selection with his conceptual and empirical series of investigations on issues of pan-European STEM research. "The scope of his work is far-reaching and is evident in his environmental attitudes and values assessment measure, which has been translated into 33 languages. The practical applications of Bogner's work extend to outdoor teaching and learning and the development of appropriate didactic approaches to learning in natural environments."
For Prof. Dr. Franz X. Bogner, the award is a surprise. "This STEM research prize is, so to speak, the Nobel Prize of our field, which, moreover, like the Nobel Prize in Economics, had always gone to US-Americans so far." Bogner has been focusing his research on STEM education for 30 years: "Attitudes, motivation, creativity, fascination, soft skills, competencies, cognitive overload as well as, of course, cognitive learning are the most important adjusting screws here to maintain or rekindle curiosity in STEM for young people," says Prof. Dr. Franz X. Bogner.
"Considering the great impact of his rigorous and coherent research, international work with academics and doctoral students, and his work for leading journals, Bogner is a deserving recipient of the NARST Distinguished Contributions through Research Award 2023," NARST further justifies the selection.
Bogner's research focuses on two main strands:
1) Every year, hundreds of middle and high school students were able to experience practical learning in the field of genetics outside of school opportunities in the genetics student laboratory of his department. Student teachers were able to take the first steps towards their future careers as teachers. These modules in the laboratory were an integral part of the Bayreuth STEM teacher training every year until Corona.
2) The development and constant refinement of the sustainability citizenship model has its origins in Bogner's post-doctoral work, the foundation of which was initially based on European binational studies and later achieved a worldwide breakthrough through confirmations by independent groups. By including further variables, essential building blocks of youth action triggers could be integrated into the sustainable citizenship model: "knowledge", "attitudes and values" and "behaviour" are identified as the crucial cornerstones.
Prof. Franz X. Bogner was appointed full professor at the Ludwigsburg University of Education in 1997 before moving to the Chair of Didactics of Biology at the University of Bayreuth in 2004. His professional career is based on the three major professional fields of didactics: as a secondary school teacher in the field, as a researcher in neurobiology and chemical ecology, and as a researcher in biology didactics. As a result of his post-doctoral period in the USA at Cornell University, he was one of the few German didacticians at the time who relied on renowned English-language peer-reviewed journals. In parallel, he has since acquired enormous third-party funding for his research in Bayreuth, mostly from the EU, but also from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). At the same time, he has secured funding for more than three dozen doctoral positions.
Bogner's list of publications includes well over 11,000 citations, and his h-index already totals 53.